Columnists

Robert Ellis Frash

June 23, 1930 – March 4, 2022

Robert Ellis Frash, passed away on March 4, 2022 at his home in Palm City, Florida.

He was born on June 23, 1930, the cherished son of Elizabeth Hyre and George William Frash.

Mr. Frash was an astounding person who embodied much of what is best about the world and, more pointedly, the country of his birth, the United States of America. Most knew him as “Bob,” which is curious because it is a rather ordinary name for such a truly extraordinary person. Born on June 23, 1930, he grew up during the Great Depression, in the most modest of circumstances, on the farmlands surrounding Churubusco, Ind. During frigid winters, he used an outhouse, walked miles to school, and had to put a heated brick by his feet at night to get to sleep. In spite of that, Mr. Frash treasured his upbringing. He often said that difficulties of childhood taught him the tenacity that later leveraged his success. In fact, it was perhaps because of his harsh upbringing that he became determined to move beyond the boundaries of his small-town and attain prominence. After playing basketball in a high school (reminiscent of the movie Hoosiers) he joined the Air National Guard during the Korean War. There he quickly rose to the rank of Master Sargent and ran the motor pool at Baer Field, in Fort Wayne, Ind. Mr. Frash was always proud to serve his country during a time of war and was active in the VFW and American Legion throughout his life. It was after leaving the Air National Guard that he began to build what would become a vast network of businesses and real estate holdings. Mr. Frash, who was ever the quintessential entrepreneur, built his first construction company from one Caterpillar D2 bulldozer to a fleet of more than 150 pieces of heavy construction equipment. When asked what was most central to his business success, he replied that “he always kept his word.” Indeed, throughout his nearly century-long life, he had a reputation of honoring his commitments, no matter the cost.

However, Mr. Frash was not only passionate about his business dealings. His was raised to understand the primary importance of family. Principal family figures were, of course, his mom and dad, but his aunt, Juva, his mother’s only sister, was also a prominent force throughout Mr. Frash’s life. Juva Marsden served as his counsel, cheerleader, matriarch, and an eternal ray of sunshine – especially during troubled times. One could not overstate the admiration and gratitude he felt for his Aunt Juva. He often referred to her as a saint, and indeed, in many ways she was.

Over a span of nearly two decades, Mr. Frash had five children: Pam, Bob Jr., Frank, Robin and Juva. Although his children were raised in two different states, he always did his best be an ever present figure in their lives and instill the value of family in all. Tragically, Mr. Frash lost his second son, Frank, in 1986. Although, he was forever burdened this loss, he stoically never lost sight of his duty and love to his surviving children. He had a special bond with each of them and played a pivotal role into their adulthood and parenthood of their own. To that end, Mr. Frash lovingly leaves behind 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

In 1985, while on vacation, he met Marie Driscoll, in Santa Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. It was a fairytale romance – they met in February and were married in November. Not too long after they were married, Mr. Frash and his wife retired to Florida in 1993. Not surprisingly, he did not adapt well to retirement. Just two-years later he and Marie were back in Indiana running a landfill on the north-side of Indianapolis. Together, they built upon their success and purchased another much larger venture, in Noblesville, Ind. Remarkably, through their industriousness, and the goal of revitalizing largely untenable land, both landfills have been repurposed into thriving industrial complexes. The Frashes were married for 37 years, during which time they not only built a substantive business empire but were best friends who never lost sight of their love for one another-sharing in numerous adventures, while traveling the world. They especially enjoyed ocean cruising and visited every continent in the world but Antarctica.

No memory of Mr. Frash would be complete without mention of his innate lust for life. Throughout his life, he participated in many different activities. Growing up he farmed, hunted, rode horses, sold lake ice, and ran a roller-skating rink. He was an avid boater and water-skier through much of the first half of his life. At an early age, he was a member of the Hamilton Lake Ski Club, where he helped host numerous annual waterski shows. Mr. Frash’s waterski accomplishments include induction into the 100-Foot waterski jump club, aerial waterski kite flying, barefoot waterskiing, and much more. He visited Cypress Gardens nearly every year and became good friends and waterski mates with the famous Jimmy “Fly” Jackson. He spent many winters vacationing in Michigan where he rode and raced snowmobiles. He later began snow skiing and won a Gold Medal in Snowmass, CO. Mr. Frash also played tennis whenever time allow. He hunted, often on horseback in remote regions of the Rocky Mountains.

Mr. Frash was a farmer, mechanic, military leader, skilled heavy equipment operator, capable civil engineer, loving husband and patriarch, avid sportsman and so much more. He excelled at everything he did. His drive and determination for success, in any and all endeavors, was dogged and astonishing. Mr. Frash did not know or accept failure, truly. He was benevolent to his fellow man and will be dearly missed by many.

Survivors include his wife, Marie; children Pam Frash, Robert (Kenda Sweet) Frash Jr., Robin Shaul and Juva Zimmerman; 8 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Frank Frash; brother, William Frash; aunt, Juva Marsden; and 1 grandson, Tim Bricker.

Visitation is scheduled to be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wed., March 16, 2022 at Randall & Roberts Funeral Center, 1685 Westfield Road, in Noblesville. Services are scheduled to be held at 11 a.m. on Thu., March 17, 2022 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 9900 East 191st Street, in Noblesville. Mr. Frash is scheduled to be laid to rest on Fri., March 18, 2022 at Noon at Eel River Cemetery in Churubusco, Ind.

Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 9900 East 191st Street, Noblesville, Ind., 46060. Condolences can be made online at www.randallroberts.com.